Pedometer Use Increases Daily Steps and Functional Status in Older Adults

Allison Snyder, Bryanne Colvin, Julie K. Gammack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: The benefits of increased physical activity in adults of any age are many. It is hypothesized that wearing a pedometer can motivate older adults to increase and sustain a higher level of ambulatory activity and improve measures of functional status. Design: A prospective observational walking program using pedometers, goal orientation, and educational materials. Participants were given pedometers with the screen covered to measure baseline steps. The pedometer screen was then uncovered for 4 weeks and participants encouraged to increase daily steps by 5% weekly. The pedometers were removed for 2 weeks and then returned with the screen covered to measure maintenance of activity. Setting: Six senior-living facilities in the Saint Louis area. Participants: A total of 36 ambulatory adults aged 65 or older. Measurements: The primary outcome measurement was average daily steps. Secondary outcomes included scores on the "Timed Up and Go," Tinetti Gait and Balance Evaluation, functional reach, 2-minute walking distance, 30-second leg-lift repetitions, grip strength, Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Quality of Life Scale. Results: The average number of daily steps increased from 2992 to 3670 over a 4-week period, a 22.7% increase (P = .035). The average daily steps were not sustained once the pedometer was removed for 2 weeks. The Timed Up and Go decreased from 12.1 to 11.2 seconds (P = .014), 30-second leg lifts increased from 22.7 to 26.3 repetitions (P < .001), and 2-minute walking distance improved from 313.7 to 330.3 feet (P = .014) at study completion. No improvement was seen in grip strength, functional reach, GDS, or quality of life. Conclusion: Pedometers are a successful motivational tool to increase ambulatory activity in older adults with a secondary benefit in functional status measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-594
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Elderly
  • Functional status
  • Pedometer
  • Walking

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pedometer Use Increases Daily Steps and Functional Status in Older Adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this